Every student has his or her own favorite spot (or spots) on campus. A lot of people like the Arboretum, which confuses me because there are so many creepy-crawlies there. Other, saner students like the library, which I can appreciate.

My favorite place on campus, though, is Coffee Grounds, a student-managed, organic fair-trade coffee shop that runs out of Katharine Blunt residence hall. It gives off an interesting, homey ambiance. I once described being in Coffee Grounds as being in a large, comfortable, British telephone booth, but my friends thought that comparison was ridiculous. I’ve also never been inside a telephone booth, so who am I to judge?

This year, my favorite spot on campus became my place of employment. I’ll admit: The ambiance changes a bit when you’re behind the counter, but not in a bad way. It’s interesting to watch people come and go, and to observe as the mood in the room shifts throughout the day. Sometimes people come to get serious work done, but other times people come to relax and socialize. As a barista, it’s easy to distinguish the “I-NEED-COFFEE-TO-STAY-AWAKE-AND-WORK” types from the “Hey-I’ll-have-some-coffee” types. I really enjoy working when things are more relaxed; things get so calm that I’ve even seen people taking afternoon naps on our couches.

Coffee Grounds becomes a sanctuary for people. When students need a quiet and serious study space, the shop follows suit. When people need breaks from studying, Coffee Grounds becomes a lively, social space. It’s strange because the students who visit and work in Coffee Grounds change constantly. Since students run the shop, management shifts every year (or more often, if managers study abroad). Yet, despite these ever-changing circumstances, Coffee Grounds has its own persistent, accommodating personality. I find that endearing about Coffee Grounds and I’m glad that I’m now able to be so involved with my favorite place on campus.